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Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup – $5 Dinner Challenge

It’s Monday night. And time for another $5 Dinner Challenge!  This week’s slow cooker meal comes from Jennifer.

Jennifer is wife to Jason and mom to five-year-old Emma.  She blogs at Saving and Giving [3] where she encourages people to save money and be generous.

Ingredients
1 pound dry black beans
1/2 pound diced ham
5 cups of water*
5 tsp. chicken bouillon*
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 Tbs. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
3/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. cornstarch

*You can substitute 5 c. of chicken broth for the water and bouillon.

Directions
1. Soak black beans overnight. Drain and rinse beans. Place in a pan, cover with water, and simmer on low for an hour. Drain beans again.
2. Place all ingredients except cornstarch in the slow cooker.
3. Cook on high for 4 hours. (Erin’s note here: From what I know about slow cooking beans, it won’t hurt to cook them longer…say if you’ll be at work all day.  Cook them longer, then proceed with directions below.)
4. After 4 hours, use a slotted spoon to remove 1 cup of cooked beans and ham. Place them in a blender or food processor with a little bit of the broth. Puree, and return to the pot. Whisk pureed bean mixture into the broth.
5. Combine cornstarch with cold water in a small bowl. Mix. Add to the slow cooker. Mix with a whisk.
6. Let cook for an additional 30 minutes or until broth thickens a bit.